SEATTLE 6, MINNESOTA 4 IN MINNESOTA
Date: Wednesday, June 14.
Batting stars: Byron Buxton was 3-for-3 with a home run (his fourth), a double, and two stolen bases (his eleventh and twelfth). Miguel Sano was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, his sixteenth. Eduardo Escobar was 2-for-4 with a home run, his sixth.
Pitching stars: Matt Belisle struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit. Taylor Rogers pitched two perfect innings and struck out one.
Opposition stars: Ben Gamel was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs. Robinson Cano was 3-for-5. Danny Valencia was 2-for-5. Jarrod Dyson was 2-for-5. Mitch Haniger was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his fifth) and a walk. Mike Zunino was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth.
The game: Gamel led off the game with a single and Haniger followed with a two-run homer, putting the Mariners up 2-0 two batters into the game. They loaded the bases with two out in the second, but Cano grounded out to end the inning. With two out in the third Valencia and Dyson singled and Zunino hit a three-run homer, giving Seattle a 5-0 lead. The Mariners put men on second and third with two out in the fourth, but Kyle Seager flied out to keep the score 5-0.
The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on solo homers by Escobar and Buxton, cutting the margin to 5-2. In the sixth, Gamel reached on an error, Cano singled, and Nelson Cruz was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out. Seager flied out, but Valencia singled to drive in a run and make it 6-2 Seattle.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Joe Mauer singled and Sano hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 6-4. But that was it. The Twins did get the tying run on in both the eighth and the ninth. With two out in the eighth Sano singled and Robbie Grossman walked, but Kennys Vargas struck out to end the inning. In the ninth Jason Castro drew a one-out walk and Byron Buxton singled. With two out, pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza and Buxton pulled off a double steal, meaning a hit to the outfield would tie the game. Brian Dozier hit a fly ball to deep center, but it was caught and the game was over.
WP: Sam Gaviglio (3-1). LP: Ervin Santana (8-4). S: Edwin Diaz (11).
Notes: Eduardo Escobar was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was apparently just being given a day off.
Neither starter pitched particularly well. Santana pitched five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and one walk and striking out five. Gaviglio pitched 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on five hits and no walks and striking out five.
This was Diaz' first full season as a closer. He had taken over from Steve Cishek in 2016.
Gaviglio joined the Mariners' rotation in mid-May. He would stay there until mid-July. He was waived and taken by Kansas City on September 1.
This was Santana's best season as a Twin and among the best of his career, although you can't tell it by this game. He would end up 16-8, 3.28, 1.13 WHIP.
Three members of the Seattle starting lineup have Twins connections: Cruz (DH), Valencia (1B), and Taylor Motter (SS).
Of Twins who played in this game, the batting average leader was Sano at .292.
Record: The Twins were 33-29, first in the American League Central, two games ahead of Cleveland. They would finish 85-77, second in the American League Central, but winning the wild card.
The Mariners were 33-34, in third place in the American League West, twelve games behind Houston. They would finish 78-84, third in the American League West, twenty-three games behind Houston.